In the "Asian Games" part of the Los Angeles casinos (which is where they have Pai Gao, Pan 9, Blackjack, and all the other non-poker games), since the casinos are not allowed to gamble against the players, one player plays as the "house," taking other players' bets like a Las Vegas casino would. The LA casinos simply take $5 or so each hand, as they do in poker. Instead of actual customers playing the role of "house," however, there is always an employee of a corporation. (The one at the Bike is run by the notorious "Corporation" Mike, among others.) You might think this sounds like an egregious exploitation of a loophole in the law, but I heard something even more remarkable: supposedly the corporations that work at Commerce Casino and Hawaiian Gardens are run by Hawaiian Gardens and Commerce, respectively. I'll try to get some verification on this, but in the meantime I will enjoy the idea that it might be true.
There is an episode of the TV show SportsNight in which many of the characters play poker. (Spoiler alert!) In the course of the game, the character Jeremy is winning big, while his girlfriend Natalie is losing. On the last hand, Jeremy bets big on the river, and tells Natalie something like, "I have you beat. If you trust me, you'll fold." Natalie calls and loses, and Jeremy feels like the relationship is on thin ice because of the lack of trust. Natalie apologizes. As a poker purist, I was disgusted by this. Here is how I saw it. First, Jeremy attempted to convince Natalie that he is willing to collude with her in the poker game. Trusting that her righteous boyfriend wouldn't be likely to stoop to that level (and that he wouldn't try testing her trust in such a crude way), Natalie disregarded his comment and called. Jeremy then took Natalie's money and received an apology. I don't get it. Jeremy was the one who was in the wrong!
The Bike employs "chip runners" to get chips for players at the table. To encourage tips, they make a point of telling players "good luck" when they give out the chips. One of the chip runners is a nervous old Asian woman who can be rather cloying in her attempts to make a good impression. I had to laugh when a player called her over with "Hey! Bad-Luck-Chip-Lady!"
Speaking of chips: As of May 1, casinos in Los Angeles will no longer accept chips from other casinos. Accepting competitors' chips had been standard practice, but supposedly there have been some counterfeit chips recently.
Speaking of counterfeits: Two popped up in our $500 NL game last month. A player used them to pay off a $200 river bet. The winning player was alerted by others at the table that the bills didn't look right, and he had them checked at the cage; the losing player then gave him another $200. Since then I've stopped keeping bills on the table, and I immediately change any bills I win.
Johnny Moss was the king of poker before Doyle Brunson. According to one of my colleagues at the Bike, he was also a cheater. Please take this with a grain of salt, but the story I heard from another prop goes as follows:
In those days, players used to take turns dealing, and several of the players in Johnny Moss's game were working together. We were playing hi-lo seven-card-stud, and the deuce of clubs opened. By the end of the hand, I had made three of a kind and a six for low. The other guy was drawing to a wheel. At the end, I showed my hand, and the other guy showed a wheel, but he had the deuce of clubs as one of his hole cards (the dealer had obviously slipped the previously folded card to him). I said, "How about I take this pot, and you guys can have the rest." The dealer simply pushed me the pot, and I left.
My June results through the 20th were fantastic, already a personal record for a single month. However, I lost a couple thousand in the last ten days.